DID YOU KNOW?, Part 2

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Today, it’s the 2nd installment of our “Did You Know?” series, as we continue to pass along various tidbits about some of the new faces battling for roster spots in Marlins camp this spring that I’ve compiled in putting together my player notes for the start of the new season.

We’ll have more in the days ahead. And if you missed part one of this series, you can check it out at http://glenngeffner.mlblogs.com/2014/02/17/did-you-know-part-1/

OUCH!: Among active players, non-roster outfielder Reed Johnson ranks 5th with 125 career hit by pitches behind Jason Giambi (179), Alex Rodriguez (169), Derek Jeter (164) and Chase Utley (156). He has ranked among his league’s top 10 in 7 of his 11 seasons, and led the AL with a career-high 21 HBP in 2006.

KEYS TO SUCCESS: OF Brent Keys, the Marlins’ 2013 Minor League Player of the Year, is a 2-time minor league batting champion (in the South Atlantic League at Greensboro in 2012 and in the Florida State League at Jupiter in 2013). As a high schooler in Southern California, he also picked up some hardware on the gridiron. In 2006, as a 15-year-old 9th grader, Keys won the National Championship in the 14-15 year-old division of the NFL’s Punt, Pass and Kick competition at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.

KINDRED SPIRITS: Like Chris Hatcher, who has big league time with the Marlins each of the last 3 years and is in big league camp as a non-roster invitee in 2014, right-handed reliever Carter Capps was born in Kinston, NC and was originally a catcher. While Hatcher famously reached the big leagues as a catcher with the Marlins before moving to the mound, Capps was converted during his freshman year at Mount Olive College in Mount Olive, NC. Capps went on to set an NCAA record, winning his first 24 career decisions, before he suffered his lone collegiate loss in the 2011 Division II College World Series. Capps was the consensus 2011 Division II National Pitcher of the Year, the American Baseball Coaches Association Player of the Year and a first-team Academic All-American. He was drafted by the Mariners in the 3rd round and, sporting a fastball that has topped 100 MPH, reached the big leagues August 3, 2012, only 359 days after he signed his pro contract. After spending most of 2012 with the Mariners, Capps was acquired by Miami in a deal for Logan Morrison in December. Marlins GM Dan Jennings offered the line of the spring to this point, talking about Capps. He said one report on the flamethrower said he could “throw a marshmallow through a battleship.”

ANOTHER MAN ON THE MOVE: Carlos Marmol is another Marlins pitcher who began his professional career as a position player. Marmol signed with the Cubs as a catcher/OF and spent his first 2 minor league seasons playing left field and catching. He hit .257 with a homer and 32 RBI in 102 games for the Arizona Rookie League Cubs and Single-A Lansing before moving to the mound for good in 2003, his 3rd professional season. Marmol hit .261 in 23 at-bats as a Cubs rookie in 2006, homering off Colorado’s Shawn Chacon, but he’s hitless in 8 at-bats over his last 7 seasons. As for Marmol’s work on the hill, since the start of 2008, he leads all major league relief pitchers in appearances (426) and strikeouts (575), while his 417.1 IP are 2nd to only Jamey Wright, and his .175 opponents average ranks 5th in the majors behind Aroldis Chapman (2010- ), Craig Kimbrel (2010- ), Kenley Jansen (2010- ) and Al Albuquerque (2011- ).

For more on the Marlins and Major League Baseball, follow me on Twitter at @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts delivered directly to you via email, please click the “Follow” button and enter your email address. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on new flagship station 940 AM WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network.

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